Enterprises Change Approach to Digital Workplace Solutions in Response to Pandemic

The growth of remote and hybrid working, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, has changed enterprise needs and priorities for digital workplace technology, according to a new report published by Information Services Group (ISG), a global technology research and advisory firm.

The 2021 ISG Provider Lens Future of Work – Services and Solutions – Global Report finds new technologies and work styles have transformed endpoint management, communications and collaboration solutions and tools for maximizing employee engagement and productivity. Organizations worldwide are turning toward more unified and cloud-based approaches to maximize workforce potential.

“The sudden need for remote work during the pandemic has shone a spotlight on the potential of digital workplace technologies,” said Dee Anthony, leader, ISG Workplace of the Future. “Enterprises are changing their expectations in this area and turning to a diverse field of providers to meet them.”

In the past two to three years, unified endpoint management (UEM) has been transformed from a combination of client management tools (CMT) and enterprise mobility management (EMM) into single-pane, co-management solutions that bridge these approaches and enable administration of modern and traditional devices, the report says.

The pandemic lockdowns of 2020 led companies to adopt device-as-a-service and virtual desktop offerings, the report states. Companies had to set up devices for employees at home, without a technician on site, then manage those devices. At the same time, UEM vendors had to extend their solutions to virtual devices and endpoints.

Security, which was not a central feature of UEM at first, has become the most important aspect of UEM solutions, according to ISG. Many vendors now integrate UEM with solutions for endpoint detection and response, identity and access management and security information and event management.

The pandemic also has accelerated changes in unified communications (UC) and unified communications as a service (UCaaS) as companies rely more on virtual and video collaboration, ISG says.

On-premises UC deployments are now in the minority, as enterprises turn to the cloud for telephony to support hybrid workforces. Meanwhile, video collaboration has gone from a nice-to-have feature to an essential tool and a crucial element of UCaaS solutions. Vendors also are integrating contact center-as-a-service in UCaaS offerings, often by merging with or acquiring contact center providers.

Employee engagement and productivity have become higher priorities as enterprises recognize technologies that help remote employees better connect with peers and knowledge also can make them more productive, the report states.

Platforms for engagement and productivity begin with meeting and conferencing solutions and typically include intranets, enterprise social networking, automated team collaboration solutions and task/project management capabilities.

The 2021 ISG Provider Lens™ Future of Work – Services and Solutions – Global Report evaluates the capabilities of 47 providers across three quadrants: Unified Endpoint Management, Unified Communications and Collaboration as a Service, and Employee Engagement and Productivity Solutions.

The report names Microsoft as a Leader in all three quadrants. It names 8X8, BlackBerry, Cisco, Citrix, Google, IBM, Igloo, Ivanti, RingCentral, Salesforce (Slack), VMware, Workplace from Meta, Zoho (ManageEngine) and Zoom as Leaders in one quadrant each.

In addition, BlueJeans from Verizon and Citrix are named as Rising Stars — companies with a “promising portfolio” and “high future potential” by ISG’s definition — in one quadrant each.

The 2021 ISG Provider Lens Future of Work – Services and Solutions – Global Report is available to subscribers or for one-time purchase on this webpage.